|Last of the major energy suppliers hikes rates
21st March 2008
Even more households will now face financial strain as the last of the big six energy suppliers in the UK has announced that it is hiking up the cost of gas and electricity usage. Scottish and Southern Energy is the last of the major suppliers to announce its energy cost rises, with the others, including British Gas, EDF Energy, and Npower, having already hiked up prices earlier in the year.
According to reports all households will now be paying average energy bills of over £1000 now that Scottish and Southern has raised its prices. The energy supplier has announced that electricity prices will go up by around 14.2% and gas prices by around 15.8%. The price hikes are due to take effect from April.
Energy companies have stated that they have had to increase prices this year because of rising costs in the wholesale energy markets. However, with bills set to average over £1000 with all of the major suppliers there is little scope for consumers to switch to a cheaper supplier that is likely to make a significant difference to their bills. The issue of rising energy costs has even been addressed by the Chancellor, Alistair Darling, over recent weeks, who has expressed concern over how poorer and more vulnerable consumers will be able to afford the costs of energy usage.
Despite the price hike Scottish and Southern is said to be the cheapest energy supplier at present. Industry watchdog officials have said that by delaying the enforcement of price hikes the energy giant has lost around £400 million in revenue, and has saved its customers around £50 per household over the winter season. However, with a reputation as the cheapest supplier it has also seen its customer base rise.
Higher energy costs are just one of the rising costs that have put further strain on household finances over recent months. In addition to dealing with increased mortgage repayments, consumers have also had to face higher petrol costs, increased water bills, and rising food costs. Some industry officials have predicted that there could be further energy price hikes in store over the course of this year, which will place further strain on finances for households.